Common Motor Vehicle Accidents and Related Injuries
Posted in Personal Injury on May 22, 2018
A personal injury is when a person suffers any kind of injury to his/her body, emotions or mind caused due to another person’s carelessness or negligence or due to motor vehicle accidents. Personal injury also includes injuries that become fatal and result in the wrongful death of a person. Typically, personal injury comes under the purview of Tort Law or Personal Injury Law.
Along with motor vehicle accidents, personal injury is also caused due to:
- Workplace accidents
- Slip and trip accidents
- Medical negligence
A person who has suffered any damages due to personal injury can claim damages which are classified under – special damages and general damages.
- Special Damages: These are essentially damages which can be measured easily such as loss of earnings, medical expenses and other such related expenses.
- General Damages: These are usually more complex and cover aspects such as loss of life’s conveniences, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, etc.
An auto accident of any kind can be extremely stressful. Apart from experiencing the agonies of the injuries related to the accident itself, you are faced with the additional stress of medical expenses, physical, as well as, emotional trauma and suffering, vehicle damage and earnings that are lost because of the inability to work during this period. All this can get extremely overwhelming and quite difficult to handle.
California Car Accident Statistics
Motor vehicle accidents are quite common and according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), in the year 2015, there were around 6.33 million crashes and around 2.44 million people were injured in car collisions in the U.S. Other car accident statistics in the U.S. and California in 2015 are:
In the U.S.
- Around 35,092 people lost their lives in vehicular accidents.
- Around 48% of the vehicle occupants who were fatally injured in the crash were not wearing seatbelts.
- Around 29% of fatalities in the U.S, involved alcohol.
- There were 4,382 drivers involved in fatal accidents.
- 955 of the fatal accidents occurred due to speeding.
- 914 of the fatal crashes occurred because the driver was intoxicated.
In case you are a victim of a car accident, then it is a good idea to consult an auto accident attorney, who can:
- Assess your accident properly.
- Calculate your losses.
- Ensure that you get the right medical treatment.
- Evaluate your injuries and examine the medical evidence.
- Help you to maximize your compensation.
Trucks such as tractor-trailers, haulers, semi-trucks, big-rigs, tanker trucks, refrigerator trucks, etc. are the lifeline of California’s economy and are used to transport raw materials, finished goods, food, machinery, gasoline, etc. into and out of the state; and, without the trucking industry, everything would come to a grinding halt in California. However, these trucks are also the most common cause of serious accidents and fatalities. There were around 4,000 truck and bus collisions in the U.S. in the year 2014 and in 2015, there were around 300 fatal truck collisions in California.
A large truck collision is a very serious event that can be fatal or can cause devastating injuries that may require a long-term stay at the hospital, care and rehabilitation. In addition, it may result in PTSD. The injuries along with the financial burden of the medical care bills can be rather overwhelming.
This is where a trucking accident lawyer can help you understand whether to file a personal injury lawsuit against the trucking company. They can help you to gather the required evidence, work with witnesses, establish the fault of the truck driver, etc. And, as a victim of a truck accident, the trucking accident lawyer can help you receive compensation for the following:
- Cost of medical treatment including hospital costs, payments for doctor visits, the cost for medicines. Physical therapy costs and cost for any other care required because of the accident.
- Compensation for pain and emotional trauma and suffering.
- Loss of wages for the time you were away from work recovering from your injuries. And, if you are permanently disabled or your capacity to work in the future has been reduced, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the loss of future earnings. Damage to property i.e. if your vehicle or any other property was damaged due to the accident.
Around 17% of all accident-related deaths in California are motorcycle fatalities and around 88,000 motorcyclists are injured in accidents across the U.S. In the case you are a victim of a motorcycle accident, you can claim compensation in two ways for your losses and injuries, via a personal injury lawsuit or a personal injury claim. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will guide you about the best way to claim compensation.
In the case of a motorcycle accident, you can claim compensation for the following damages:
- Costs of medical treatment (past and future), which includes the cost for the time spent in the care facility or emergency room, payments for visits to the doctor or clinic, the cost of medicines and medical supplies and cost of any long-term medical care or physical therapy.
- Compensation for pain and emotional suffering experienced due to the accident.
- Wages that you have lost when taking time off due to the accident, if you have suffered permanent disability, if you are not able to work for extended periods of time, if your ability to work has been impacted by the accident, you must be compensated for all the financial losses incurred by you due to the accident.
- If your motorcycle or any property was damaged while you were riding your motorcycle.
Common Accident-Related Injuries
Some of the common injuries that occur due to vehicular collisions are:
A very common injury that occurs in the case of vehicular collision is “whiplash.” When the vehicle collides with an object or vehicle, sometimes the victim’s head is thrown forcefully forwards, backward or sideways and the force of the action can cause severe strain to the ligaments and muscles of the upper back and neck. Most of the times, whiplash gets better by itself; however, sometimes it can be permanently disabling. Also, the trauma of the collision can cause serious damage to the soft tissues of the lower and upper back and can also cause skeletal trauma or even disc herniation.
In such cases, the recovery period is very long and may require surgery, physical therapy and even pain management for a long time. Spinal injuries are also among the most expensive automobile collision-related injuries to treat. Trauma to the spine can result in partial or total paralysis and even sometimes death. In many cases, the injury to the spinal cord cannot be corrected fully and this may result in permanent disability, which may cause inability to care for yourself, work and conduct your day-to-day activities.
Head and Brain Injury
Around 17.3% of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the U.S. are caused due to road accidents. TBI occurs when the extremely fast movement of the skull results in the impact of the brain with the hard skull surface, as the brain is not fixed in the skull and rests freely within the skull. A traumatic event can result in an impact that may cause damage to the soft tissues of the brain. TBI can lead to swelling, bruising or bleeding of the brain and may even have serious consequences such as a skull fracture.
TBI can cause immediate symptoms in some victims such as unconsciousness or other symptoms that are visible. However, in many cases, TBI may be very difficult to diagnose and many victims do not experience symptoms until quite later. In the case of a TBI, emergency care is crucial and, in many cases, may require follow-up treatments such as CT scans, MRIs, etc. TBIs can result in serious impairment in the cognitive function of the victim and in some cases where the neurological injuries are severe, there may be a need for extensive or lifetime rehabilitation.
These can range from minor scrapes, bruises or cuts to severe injuries such as burns, deep lacerations, fractures, jaw or dental damage. Even minor auto accidents can cause deep cuts, punctures, scrapes and lacerations since the soft tissues of the face are quite susceptible to trauma due to impact with the interior parts of the vehicle or impact with flying objects such as broken glass, personal belongings, etc. In some cases, the injuries may be quite severe such as punctures caused by sharp objects and broken bones, among other possible injuries.
Facial bone damage is also quite common and may be superficial damage to quite debilitating injuries such as a broken jaw. Sometimes, victims may require cosmetic or reconstructive surgery to restore the function or appearance of the face. Certain injuries such as a broken nose are fairly simple to treat, whereas injuries like jaw dislocation, are more complicated and may need a longer period of treatment, recovery and rehabilitation.
Very commonly, in case of an auto accident, the upper and lower limbs are most likely to be injured and require emergency, as well as, follow-up treatment. Broken bones can easily get infected and if it is very serious, it may require surgery and physical therapy to restore the function of the limbs. Severe accidents may also result in loss of limbs and this can result in serious impairment to the victim’s quality of life and his/her ability to carry out their daily tasks and activities.
Automobile accidents may also cause minor problems like sprains, minor breaks and spurs. While these minor injuries may not be very difficult to treat, they may need a lot of time to heal and may need rehabilitation to restore the proper functioning of the body part.
Meeting with an auto accident not only causes physical injury, it may also result in psychological trauma associated with the event. Very often, victims of accidents suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that requires professional treatment which may be for a short period or for many years, until the victim is able to function normally. Accidents can also cause other psychological disorders like anxiety, severe panic attacks, acute unease, depression, etc. which may all require professional treatment.
The treatment of psychological injuries can be quite difficult and may require extensive therapy with a professional, long-term rehabilitation and medication to enable the person to get back to their normal mental condition. In some cases, the victim of an automobile accident may even be entitled to compensation for mental trauma and emotional distress caused by the accident.
Unexpected death, especially of a loved one can be quite a distressing event and this tragedy becomes even greater if some other individual or entity is the cause of your loss. In the case of death that is caused due to negligence or wrongful behavior, in California, the surviving members of the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit in the civil court. A wrongful death lawsuit is the civil legal action that can be brought by the surviving member of the deceased person’s family who has died due to negligence or some wrongful act.
The things that make a death “wrongful” are:
- The death should involve the death of a human being.
- The death should have been caused due to the negligence of another person or with the intention to cause harm.
- The surviving members belonging to the family of the deceased person are suffering financial losses due to the death of the person.
The persons who are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased person.
- The surviving domestic partner of the deceased person.
- The surviving children and grandchildren of the deceased person.
If there is no surviving person who belongs to the deceased’s line of descent i.e. any of the above categories, the wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the person who as per the California law will inherit the deceased person’s property, that can include the parents or siblings of the deceased person, depending on whoever is alive during the death of the person.
Do You Need a Lawyer in the Case of a Motor Vehicle Accident or Wrongful Death?
In the case of a minor accident, you may not require the services of an attorney. However, if the accident is severe, you will definitely benefit by taking counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer or law firm that specializes in car, truck and motorcycle accidents.
The negligent party is sure to have a lawyer and an insurance company representing them whose job is to minimize your injuries, deny your claim or minimize the payout. A personal injury lawyer can help to uphold your rights, ensure that the results of your case are maximized and also help you deal with various issues such as emergency room situations and medical bills. An experienced lawyer can help you cut down your medical and other expenses and maximize compensation.
A qualified wrongful death lawyer can help you in your difficult times and help you understand the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit and how any compensation received will be distributed among the surviving members of the family of the deceased.
Getting into an accident or wrongful death of a loved one can be very harrowing. At such times, the expert guidance of a personal injury lawyer or a wrongful death lawyer can help to get you through the difficult times.